EUGENE, Ore. – The tenth-ranked Southern Oregon Raiders played up to their rank on Friday night, handing No. 15 Northwest Christian just their second loss of the season with a 66-54 victory over the Beacons on their home court.
NCU (13-2, 6-2 CCC) held the Raiders (15-1, 7-1) to their lowest shooting mark of the year (.314), but were plagued by a 16-28 effort from the free-throw line and a season-worst 22 turnovers.
"We played and defended hard enough to win tonight, we just needed to play a little smarter." NCU head coach Heath Alexander commented. "They are a very good team, and to beat them we need to make a few more plays and make our free throws."
The Beacons held their only leads of the night in the first five minutes of action, with SOU gaining the upper hand early on thanks to their efforts on the offensive glass. 12 of the Raiders 22 first-half boards allowed them to attempt 39 field-goals in the first half, close to double the amount put forth by NCU.
Despite SOU controlling the ball for much of the first half, the Beacons went into the intermission at just a six-point deficit.
Southern Oregon began the fourth quarter up by nine, 56-47, and increased their lead to 11 on a Toria Bradford field-goal, seemingly putting the game out of reach with 9:07 left on the clock. Northwest Christian had other plans though, holding the Raiders scoreless for the next six minutes of action while scoring seven points, bringing the score to 58-54 with just over three minutes remaining. SOU regrouped, however, going on an eight-point run of their own to end the game and leave Eugene with a tough conference victory.
Remi Mejia continued her conference-leading scoring efforts with 18 points in addition to grabbing seven rebounds and four steals. Toria Bradford and Ariel Augustine both finished with 13, with Augustine pulling down a team-high nine boards for the Raiders.
NCU freshman guard Morgan McKinney had a big night for the Beacons with 16 points, nine boards and three assists. Fellow freshman Anamaria Virjoghe played tough inside with 16 points, eight boards, and two blocks. Katerina Brejchova also put forth a well-rounded effort, finishing the night with nine points, nine boards, three assists and two blocks of her own.
Both teams are back on the court for conference contests tomorrow. NCU looks to bounce-back as they host the Oregon Tech Owls, while Southern Oregon heads north to Salem to take on the Corban Warriors. Both games are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. starts.
Story provided by NSU Athletics.